Hot Little Hands (★★★☆☆)

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Abigail Ulman  *  Spiegel & Grau  *  May 31, 2016  *  368 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy received through Amazon Vine.

I’m not even quite sure how I feel about this book. So many young girls having so much sex. Yikes.

The book is well-written and has a quiet, contemplative tone. The stories flow well with each other, though the characters are new in each one. I felt connected to all of the main female characters. I definitely cared about them. I wanted them to make good decisions, to come out okay.

On the one hand, it was easy to read this book. But, on the other hand, well… Let’s just say that by the time I finished it, I felt emotionally numb. There is just so much sadness in here. So much loneliness and isolation. These are women who are figuring themselves out, figuring out what it means to be sexual beings, and you’d think there would be some power and maybe even a little bit of joy in that. But there isn’t. Most of the women are lost and sad. They all seem so fragile, so exposed in their grief and vulnerability. It left me feeling unsettled.

Ultimately, Hot Little Hands isn’t a feel-good book. The stories are well-written and engaging, but they are also very depressing. I do think the book does a great job of showing how vulnerable young women are, how often and easily they are abandoned–as well as how difficult it can be for them to figure out how to love someone else in a way that still honors their own self-worth. But the overall feel of the book is pretty melancholy. Prepare yourself.

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